Sunrise host David Koch has been called out for telling a climate change protester he would snip the wires from where she was hanging and send her plunging into the water.
For the fourth day in a row Blockade Australia climate-change activists halted all freight rail lines into and out of Port Botany in Sydney on Friday.
Koch and co-host Natalie Barr interviewed protester Emma Dorge while she was suspended over the railway line and adjacent water at Australia’s largest container port.
Koch, opposing the ongoing disruption to Sydney roads and railways by protesters, said he acknowledge the issue of climate change but disagreed with protesters disrupting people's lives.
He called her arrogant and a pest and said authorities should just cut her down.
“Why disrupt everybody else’s life because you’ve got a bee in your bonnet?” he asked.
“Can I have your home address so when I’m angry about something I’ll go and block your house and disrupt your life?"
“What if the authorities there, just clipped the rope,” he said, after asking if she was a good swimmer.
'That's a really distasteful comment'
Ms Dorge responded calling Koch's comment distasteful.
"You know what's happened in Lismore recently with the floods, I think that's a really distasteful comment," she said.
Koch continued to argue with her before winding up the interview.
"We got you on because we just wanted to hear from a pest and what they looked and sounded like," he said.
"Good luck with that, as I say I'd just snip the wires, I think."
Barr then noted the NSW Government’s crackdown on protestors who disrupt traffic on any bridge or tunnel. They can from today be slapped with fines up to $22,000 and two years' jail.
Koch's comments spark social media backlash
“I was embarrassed by that interview. Kochi this time you got it wrong,” one woman said.
“Climate change is a huge problem. Perhaps if you listened and had a two-way conversation the poor girl would come down and be heard.”
“She is a well-educated, younger adult who is protesting for David Koch's grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
But others agreed with Koch.
"You can protest without disrupting others," someone said.
"Country is trying to recover from a few devastating years, this sort of activity is really sh****”.
Protestor explains bold move
Blockade Australia has identified the 25-year-old as a woman named Emma.
The group posted a photo of her standing on the freight tracks on Friday morning.
“The destruction of these lands and of people of culture, has been intentional,” they quote her as saying.
“The powers have prioritised the economic wealth and political power of an elite few.
“They have used policies of extractivism and destruction to extract and exploit everything from this land and people. Those goods are moved around through roads, ports and rails. That's why I'm attached to this bipod.
"The system we currently know and its endless economic expansion is incompatible with life. Solutions will never come from within the system, we need to build collective power to confront and obstruct Australia.”
Climate protesters gather outside PM's house
Student protesters also gathered outside Kirribilli House on Friday to protest to the prime minister about climate change.
Among them was a 13-year-old girl whose family lost their home in the Lismore floods.
She told Nine News she has had to go and live on the Gold Coast with friends and can't go to school.
The event organiser called on the Morrison government to stop funding the fossil-fuel industry.
German brothers deported after protests
Two German brothers from the same action group will be deported over their involvement in climate protests this week, which blocked peak-hour traffic in Sydney around Port Botany.
The men were arrested after suspending themselves from poles in and around the shipping terminal on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said their visas were cancelled on "good order grounds".
"So we've cancelled those visas and then the Australian Border Force will be affecting their removal from Australia as soon as possible," he told Sydney radio 2GB.
Blockade Australia said the decision was part of "the government's draconian overreach" that involved "fear tactics" designed to "squash dissent".
The group said the decision would not deter it from further action.
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